For this week’s installment of Brewery of the Week, I road tripped to Cedar Rapids in the name of research. Actually, I should say I went to Marion. Marion folk feel the way about saying they’re “from Cedar Rapids” the way Ankeny folk feel about saying they’re “from Des Moines.” You just don’t do that. After arriving to the destination address, I discovered you have to enter Another Road Brewing through the Progress Point Business Center. You then follow the stairs down, journey through a long winding hallway, and arrive at a tiny bar tucked away in the back room of a basement. It felt exactly like a Speakeasy. So of course, I loved it.
A little research from their Facebook page tells me that Another Road officially opened its doors less than a year ago in May of 2014. Judging from the posts, they had to overcome quite a few hurdles and get city council to change some ordinances in order to open in their space. If you’re willing to work that hard to get your beer to the public, you know it has got to be worth it. Intending to open earlier, Another Road kept brewing away anyway, getting their beers out there through other channels until they could finally open their doors.
I stopped in on a quiet Saturday afternoon. There were only a couple people hanging out when I got there, but every seat was filled within 30 minutes. Thank you Perfect Timing Gods for saving my backside yet again. I started with a Paddle, Another Road’s version of a flight. They are offered in a 4 pack or 6 pack. However, there was a small problem-their 6th beer had run out for the night. Solution? Give everyone a 4-paddle and throw in their 5th beer for free. You can’t argue with that level of customer service.
From left to right you have: Hayloft Hefe, Cheeky Queen Honey Wheat, Farmer’s Daughter IPA, Dry Pump Stout, and their Milk Stout (forgive me for missing it’s name). The Cheeky Queen utilizes honey from the nearby Amana Colonies, and has a very light, almost American Pilsner style. It would be perfect for those Bud Light drinkers who are a little averse to craft beer. (And on that note, SHAME ON YOU. START DRINKING REAL BEER.) The Farmer’s Daughter IPA scared me with its 108 IBU–This is higher than most IPA’s that are bitter enough as it is. I thought it was going to slap me in the face, but it was actually much more drinkable than I expected. As far as the Dry Pump stout, it was not nearly as thick as similar stouts normally are and is a little more bitter. For those of you who don’t love stouts for exactly those qualities, this may be a good in-between. The milk stout was verrrry smooth and was just like drinking a cold chocolate milk. It only has an 8.1 IBU, so if you’re looking for a beer to have with breakfast–hey don’t judge, some days you just need it–this is definitely your go to.
My favorite though, no surprise, was the Hayloft Hefe. It’s fairly sweet like most hefeweizens, with notes of banana and fig. My sample glass didn’t last long, so I ordered another full size one. I’m a big fan of sweet + salty, so this went well with my bowl of complimentary popcorn.
Overall, I have to say this place was great. No its not some big fancy bar. Its a quiet room tucked away in the basement of an older building. But the bartender knew the subtle and not-so subtle differences between each beer. The brewmaster took time to sit and ‘talk shop’ with a home brewer. The customer service was above bar. Every seat was taken. Growlers, flights, koozies, and anything else they had to offer was reasonably priced. And the beer was fantastic, so I will be back.
Another Road Brewing Company | 1175 8th Avenue Marion, IA | 319.212.8563
Check out their Facebook page here.